Bishop of London asks Government how it will tackle social and economic inequalities in response to covid-19

On 26th October 202 the Bishop of London asked a question in the House of Lords that she had tabled, on covid-19 and social and economic inequalities. The exchanges and follow-up questions from other Members are reproduced below:

Lord Bishop of London: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to ensure that (1) social, and (2) economic, inequalities are addressed in their plans for economic recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Baroness Penn (Con): My Lords, the Government have taken unprecedented action to keep people in work and to support businesses since the pandemic began. We are committed to carefully considering the social and economic impact of new policies and to tackling inequalities. Initiatives such as the Kickstart Scheme, the Job Support Scheme and enhanced welfare provision continue to support people, particularly those in groups at risk of higher unemployment due to the pandemic.

The Lord Bishop of London [V]: I thank the noble Baroness for her reply. Given the multiple layers of inequality that the pandemic is revealing, can the Minister tell the House whether Her Majesty’s Government will implement the recommendations made in the recent 10-year Marmot review and set up a taskforce that will focus on understanding the social and economic determinants of health from a holistic, society-wide perspective? Continue reading “Bishop of London asks Government how it will tackle social and economic inequalities in response to covid-19”

Bishop of London asks about support for almshouses to upgrade their facilities to older people

On 22nd October Lord Kennedy of Southwark asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the role of alms houses in the provision of housing for the elderly.” The Bishop of London asked a further question:

The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, I declare my interests as stated in the register. The Church of England continues to provide excellent almshouses provision as a support to older people through its charities. There are over 30,000 almshouses in the UK and more than 1,000 new ones have been built in the last decade. Another 750 are in the pipeline, providing places of flourishing and support for the elderly. However, the complexities of the buildings themselves prohibit modern building standards being achieved. Will the Minister comment on whether Her Majesty’s Government will provide grants for local almshouse charities to upgrade their facilities within the complex planning frameworks associated with these buildings?

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Votes: Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill

On 21st October 2020 three votes were held on the Government’s Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill. Members of the Lords were asked to agree with the decisions of the Commons to reject amendments they had passed to the Bill, or to propose further amendments in lieu of them. Several bishops took part:
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Bishop of London voices concern about high number of remand prisoners

On 21st October Lord German asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the impact on (1) prisons, (2) prisoners, and (3) those on remand, of increasing the maximum period of remand in custody by eight weeks.” The Bishop of London asked a further question:

The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, is the Minister aware that many hundreds of remand prisoners in London prisons are now held for much longer periods than before Covid while waiting for a trial date? Her Majesty’s Prison Pentonville alone has over 400 prisoners waiting for unprecedented periods—of over a year—for their cases to be heard. Can she assure your Lordships’ House that action is being taken to relieve this? If so, what action can we expect? Continue reading “Bishop of London voices concern about high number of remand prisoners”

Bishop of London – need to invest in local public health responses to coronavirus and offer right financial support for most restricted areas

On 20th October 2020 the House of Lords heard the repeat of a Government statement on Covid-19, and also considered the Government’s Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) (Amendment) (No. 5) Regulations 2020. The Bishop of London spoke in response to both:

In response to the Motion to approve the Regulations, she said:

The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for the work that he and others are doing to make decisions at this very challenging time. The regulations we are debating relate to health protection restrictions and fines. However, I wonder whether our approach to public health protection and restrictions during the pandemic needs to pay more attention to a bottom-up approach of wisdom, rather than simply relying on top-down pragmatism and the push and pull of financial incentives. Last week, the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Manchester highlighted how policies, such as fines, are out of touch with many. It has led to frustration and resentment nationwide. Continue reading “Bishop of London – need to invest in local public health responses to coronavirus and offer right financial support for most restricted areas”

Vote: UK Internal Market Bill motion to regret

On Tuesday 20th October a vote was taken on a Motion to Regret on the Government’s United Kingdom Internal Market Bill. Seven bishops voted for the Motion:
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Bishop of London asks Government about impact on wellbeing of visiting restrictions at care homes

On 20th October 2020 the Bishop of London received a written answer to a question she had asked Government about visiting restrictions at care homes:

The Lord Bishop of London: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of visiting restrictions at care homes on the wellbeing of residents; and what plans they have to review their policy on visiting arrangement at care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. [HL8737] Continue reading “Bishop of London asks Government about impact on wellbeing of visiting restrictions at care homes”

Bishop of London asks Government about high cost of registering children as British citizens

On 19th October 2020 Lord Alton of Liverpool asked the Government “what estimate they have made of the costs of their decision to appeal the decision of the High Court on 19 December 2019 in Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens versus Home Office.” The Bishop of London asked a further question:

The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, the judgment in December 2019 highlighted that the Home Office application fee to register a British citizen was £1,012 for children, even though the Home Office estimated the cost of processing applications for registration as £372. Putting a financial barrier on being able to access one’s rights is a clear barrier to one’s access to justice. What assessment have Her Majesty’s Government made of the number of people whose rights are limited by the level of the fee that has been set? Continue reading “Bishop of London asks Government about high cost of registering children as British citizens”

Bishop of London asks Government about mental health provision for care workers

On 1st July Lord Bradley asked Her Majesty’s Government “what action they are taking to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health”. The Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London, asked a follow up question focusing on mental health care for care workers.

The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, the Government are providing NHS staff with free access to online therapy and group counselling sessions, among other things, which is much needed and very welcome. Can the Minister say whether the same quality of care, recognition and access to mental health support is being given to parts of the social care sector such as nursing homes, care homes and home care workers, who have faced similar traumatic experiences to those of NHS staff?

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Bishop of London asks Government about mental health needs of NHS staff

On 21st May 2020 Baroness Browning asked the Government “what steps they are taking to update the guidance given to hospitals about ensuring the safety of patients who do not have Covid-19 who require life-saving emergency treatment.” The Bishop of London, Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of London: The report recently published by the Institute for Public Policy Research, Care Fit for Carers, found that half our healthcare workers have said that their mental health has deteriorated since the Covid-19 crisis began. What supplementary provision is being put in place to deal with the mental health needs of NHS staff?

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